George Teal, Lora Thomas and Abe Laydon

Douglas County commissioners, from left: George Teal, Lora Thomas and Abe Laydon

Commissioners from Douglas County today said they suspended Lora Thomas as chair of the board.

They also called for an investigation into Thomas' "conduct" over the latter allegedly circulating a resignation letter from a first responder.

In statement published on the county's website, the commissioners said Thomas did so "for her own political advantage."

"Today, the Board of County Commissioners had to make the unfortunate decision to suspend Lora Thomas as Chair of the Board and call for an investigation into her conduct following receipt of a letter of resignation from a first responder whose information had been shared widely and publicly by Thomas at a large political event, which Lora Thomas circulated for her own political advantage," the commissioners said. 

Thomas called her removal as board chair a "politically motivated stunt." She linked the decision to a controversial water proposal in the county. 

"Today my @douglascountyco fellow commissioners in a politically motivated stunt, removed me as Chair for the 3rd time. My crime is protecting taxpayers from funding RWR a boondoggle water project to take water from the San Luis Valley w/ARPA $$," she wrote. 

Thomas is likely referring to a proposal from Renewable Water Resources to ferry as much as 34,000 acre-feet of water from a confined aquifer in the San Luis Valley to Douglas County. RWR argues that its proposal is a win-win solution – it would economically benefit San Luis Valley while ensuring water sustainability for Douglas County.

The company told the Douglas County board of county commissioners in a January letter that it would drop its asking price for the county’s participation in the $600 million project from $20 million to $10 million. RWR's attorneys also advised the commissioners that "rules and regulations governing the use of ARPA funds may not allow the county to spend $20 million on projects that are not completed by 2026." However, the letter continued, the attorneys believe the county could spend $10 million of its ARPA money "as compensation for general revenue loss" outside of the deadline limitations.

Thomas later added: "Be watching for a statement from @douglascountyco that is being authored by @gtealcr and @AbeLaydon justifying their action. This statement is being developed via county email by the two of them without my input."

The county's two other commissioners are Abe Laydon and George Teal. 

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